Regions that fail to renew themselves face uncertain prospects. The research project SeeRRI – managed from Bodø and funded by the European Union – will explore how regions such as Nordland can lay strategies for a sustainable and profitable future.
Nordland’s participation in the project is no accident. Since 2014 the region has been basing its innovation strategy on the platform of “smart specialisation”, which is endorsed by the EU. Smart specialisation involves policymakers, businesses, citizens, and researchers coming together to foster the development of local industries that have a good fit with the region's unique advantages.
- SeeRRI focuses on three regions that actively use smart specialisation strategy to align local development with the values and needs that are important to the community as a whole, says Nhien Nguyen, senior researcher at Nordland Research Institute and Europe-wide project leader as well as scientific coordinator for SeeRRI.
In addition to Nordland Research Institute, the SeeRRI consortium includes two partners from Nordland: The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise in Nordland (NHO Nordland) and Nordland County Council.
With and for society
SeeRRI revolves around the concept of responsible research and innovation (RRI). The point is to create a future that will be attractive to everyone. To achieve this, those who shape the future must adhere to some important ground rules.
- We must, among other things, take ethical issues and gender equality into account and make sure citizens are involved in the development process, says Nguyen.
- This is how solutions can be developed with and for society.
One of the objectives of SeeRRI is to ensure that the ground rules are followed when European regions work with smart specialisation. The plan is to resolve a number of challenges that have emerged:
- It can be difficult to get the relevant local actors to contribute equally to the policy formulation process.
- No system is in place to help different regions of Europe learn from each other.
- Regions at an early stage of development need more support to benefit from smart specialisation.
Four keys to success
As SeeRRI is carried out, four aspects of the project will receive special emphasis. First of all, a wide range of actors will be involved in developing the policy framework.
- Here we are talking about everyone from citizens via NGOs to universities and businesses, says Nguyen.
Second, SeeRRI will collaborate with Nordland County Council, which works with smart specialisation policy
- Together we will make sure the guidelines become essential ingredients in Nordland's recipe for smart specialisation strategy, says Nguyen.
Third, this way of working with smart specialization approach will be transferred to other regions of Europe. In fact SeeRRI has already secured a large network of cooperating regions from different countries.
And fourth, said network consists of regions with different internal conditions. By studying diverse regions, SeeRRI will create a versatile knowledge base that can benefit regions outside the network in the future.
Illustration: © SeeRRI 2018.
- Project start: January 2019. Kick-off meeting to be held in Bodø at the end of January.
- Project duration: January 2019 - June 2021.
- Project budget: €2.03 million.
- EU funding program: H2020-Swafs 14/2018.
- Consortium: 12 partners from five countries, led by Nordland Research Institute.
- Pilot regions: Nordland, Lower Austria, Catalonia.
- Partners from Norway: Nordland Research Institute, Nordland County Council, NHO Nordland